The last two men to challenge for the UFC middleweight title will face off against each other later this year as Paulo Costa will face Marvin Vettori in a main event matchup on October 23. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was first to report the news late Monday night, although there has been no official announcement by the UFC just yet.
This will be the first action for Paulo Costa since he came up short in his middleweight title fight against reigning champion Israel Adesanya back at UFC 253 in September of 2020. The loss to Adesanya was the first of Costa’s professional career, while he has picked up wins over the likes of Yoel Romero, Uriah Hall, and Johny Hendricks during his UFC tenure.
After taking time off to heal up from injuries following his fight from UFC 253, Costa had been scheduled twice earlier this year, once to face Robert Whittaker, and once to face Jared Cannonier, however, both fights had to be canceled.
Marvin Vettori was the most recent challenger for Adesana’s title, as the two fought to a unanimous decision title defense for the champion. Before coming up short at UFC 263 earlier this year, Vettori reeled off five straight wins inside the UFC Octagon. His last two losses have come against Adesanya.
With both fighters looking for a way back to the title, this fight should have major implications at the top of the middleweight division rankings. After being away for over a year and two fights falling through earlier this year, Paulo Costa actually called for his return to come against Vettori, and with both sides wanting the fight to happen, the UFC has made it happen.
It is expected that Adesanya will face Robert Whittaker in a rematch for the middleweight title later this year, although nothing has been agreed to or announced yet by the UFC. Currently, Costa is the second-ranked middleweight contender and Vettori is the fourth-ranked contender with Jared Cannonier in between the two. A spectacular win for either Paulo Costa or Vettori could line them back up to get a quick return back to a title fight.
There are currently four fights set for the fight night on October 23:
- Paulo Costa vs Marvin Vettori
- Livinha Souza vs Randa Markos
- Jeff Molina vs Daniel Lacerda
- Jessica Rose-Clark vs Joselyne Edwards
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
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